Don’t you hate that when you bring home a growler of fresh beer and pop the lid, you’re immediately on the clock? You’ve got four pints of beer to drink, and if you aren’t sharing with friends, well, you’d better hop to it. Because in 24 to 48 hours, your beer is going have lost some of its luster.
Well, a new product headed to market, Growler Chill, not only will chill and dispense three growlers (standard 64-ounce or 32-ounce howlers) at once, it claims it will keep the beer fresh longer as well – up to three weeks longer, according to Growler Chill brand strategist Tonia Speir. Because it holds three, that also empowers beer lovers to keep a variety of styles available all the time.
The device will make its debut May 4 in Louisville, Ky., at the Kentucky Derby Craft Beer Festival, and thirsty beer lovers can begin pre-ordering the units in June for an estimated fall delivery. After the official unveiling in Louisville, photos and videos will be made available. For now, all the folks behind Growler Chill will share is a rendering.
Here’s how the contraption works: Thanks to what is called a “magic top cap,” the beer stays fresh longer by using food-grade Co2 bullet canisters. Speir also says it’s extremely energy efficient because it only cools a small amount of space.
“Growler Chill is the size of an average toaster oven,” Speir said in an e-mail; the device measures 21 inches wide and 15 inches high.
In fact, it’s even got smart technology.
“It will allow you to store and track the information on your craft beers,” Speir says, “and will alert you when your beer is low, and you need a refill, by sending a push notification to your smart phone or tablet.”
Isn’t technology wonderful?
Growler Chill was created by Randy Hollister, a former real estate broker who credits his son for giving him the idea.
“He called me up, and said, ‘Dad, I think there’s something you need to invent,’” Hollister told WPDE in Conway, S.C. “I started digging into it, and I realized there’s a huge market here that’s untapped, so we’re filling it.”
Speir says Growler Chill is privately funded, but the pre-sale launch will be via KickStarter – not to raise money, but rather to better determine an initial order requirement and to take advantage of the viral marketing opportunities KickStarter offers.
“In the past two years,” she says, “over $4 million has been raised from Kickstarter backers for craft beer related projects, and this will be an excellent way for us to connect with our core audience.”
She says the retail price of a Growler Chill is still being determined based on the smart technology being used, but estimates a unit will cost between $280 and $330 once the product goes to market.
Responses to the concept have been positive, according to Speir, who says breweries love it because it an impetus for selling more beer. The target audience, of course, is what really matters, and responses have been good there as well.
“We have spent the last several weeks attending craft beer events throughout the country, and the product has been very well received by both home brewers and craft beer enthusiasts,” Speir says. “Craft beer drinkers love variety and discovery and with Growler Chill they now have the ability to bring home a selection of their favorite brews without worrying about perishability. “
While you wait for the KickStarter pre-sale to begin, there’s a giveaway for which you can register at the Growler Chill website. In June, the company will give away a year of free beer.
Kevin Gibson is a Louisville, Ky.-based free-lance writer who writes about everything from food to music to beer to bourbon to professional football. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono (pissed her off a little, too). He is author of "Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft" (2014, History Press). He published his first novel, "The Liberation of Crystal Hill" (Bearhead Publishing), in 2011; he also published "Crohn's Disease: A Memoir from the Toilet" in January 2015 and his currently working on two more book projects. He co-hosts a weekly local radio show, and also plays in a couple of bands, the Uncommon Houseflies and the Nick Peay Band. Not surprisingly, he doesn't sleep much. But when he isn't running around town chasing stories or poised at his trusty laptop writing, you can often find him at one of the local breweries and being thankful for the life he lives. That, or he'll be sitting on his couch with his trusty sidekick Darby. Check out his beer blog, 502Brews.com, or his website, KevinGibsonWriter.com, to find out more about his books and why he does what he does. Or feel free to call him names on Twitter: @kgramone.